When I first saw that Scottish protestors had effectively chased UKIP leader Nigel Farage out of Edinburgh, my first reaction was a resounding sense of pride concerning the political principles of my surrogate home; however, my thoughts quickly turned to pure dread. Did these foolhardy protesters realise what they'd done?
I've not met anyone - north or south of the Scottish border - who wholeheartedly agrees with Nigel Farage's platform. His party has been condemned by many as openly homophobic, utterly racist and (when it comes to the issue of Europe) slightly hypocritical. It's worth noting that such accusations can admittedly be somewhat dubious, depending on who you're talking to; however, there are indeed a number of worrying 'selling points' that no self-respecting UKIP candidate would ever deny supporting. These include being humorously skeptical about the existence of global warming, the fundamental need to reverse the nation's various hunting and smoking bans and the belief that employers shouldn't have to contribute to a National Insurance schemes. Hmm.
That being said, no one should be so foolish as to quiver in the shadow of the 'political titan' that is UKIP. After all, their biggest claims to success this year have been coming in second in a by-election and not being 100% condemned by celeb-chef Jamie Oliver; therefore, it's hard to say what political threat the arguably bigoted ideals of UKIP pose to British society. Yet bearing this in mind, the question remains: why can I not buy a newspaper or turn on the news without seeing at least one story focusing exclusively on 'what UKIP has gone and done now'?
I don't say this often, but it's high time that British politics take a page out of Hollywood's playbook: if you don't like something, make a brief - but scathing - offering of condemnation, and then never speak of it again. After all, if Variety gives an appallingly bad actor the silent treatment, said thespian simply no longer exists - and it works every time. Don't believe me? Google Macaullay Culkin.
Meanwhile, concerning politics, the American people have already implemented this strategy against radical upstarts the Tea Party - who, for a time, appeared dead-set on completely reshaping Washington. Yet somewhat predictably, the group's roster of laughably ignorant candidates and its unsustainable number mad-cap policies finally caught up with them, and the Tea Party has since dissipated into the sands of time. What's Sarah Palin up to now? What about Joe Miller and Sharron Angle? More importantly, does anyone care?
It's time for those who despise UKIP and everything it stands for to give Nigel Farage the silent treatment. So, if you think a five-year freeze on immigration is ill-advised? Don't go out protesting it. If you think the UK could lose out on billions a year in revenue by leaving the EU? Don't blog about it. And for fuck's sake, if you think women should wear trousers? Whatever you do, don't feel the need to create a Facebook group about it. That's only what they want.
The more you protest UKIP, the more that rich right-wingers will flock to the party's banner with enormous donations - meaning that, by making a show of how much you disagree with Nigel Farage, you're effectively paying for his pints. Like it or not, at the end of the day, harbouring conflicting views to that of UKIP's fan base of Tory outcasts doesn't make you somehow special or different - it merely confirms that you're a pseudo-liberal, functioning member of society. So if you want UKIP to go the way of America's Tea Party, stop giving them the publicity they so crave - and eventually they'll become a distant memory. Here's hoping, anyway...